Microsoft Partners With Insteon for Home Automation Offering – Security Sales

Microsoft has selected Insteon smart home devices and RF/powerline technology to help the firm enter the connected home market.

Microsoft[1] has been quiet on the home automation[2] front for about a decade, but the software giant is finally taking action with an unusual bedfellow: Insteon, the technology created by leading home technology distributor Smarthome.

Microsoft funded development of a Windows 8 app for Insteon[3] and will sell Insteon devices online and in its 53 U.S. stores, “marking Microsoft’s retail entry into the connected home market,” according to a press release.

The union is unusual because Insteon rarely gets the buzz that Z-Wave[4] and ZigBee get, even though the smart home technology has been around for 10 years. Also, Insteon products are pretty much available from one vendor only – Insteon itself, which makes everything from security sensors to smart LED bulbs (arguably the first in that category) to thermostats and home automation software.

And, the technology isn’t hip and trendy like all the crowd-funded start-ups.

Insteon does double-duty as both a wireless RF and powerline carrier (PLC) technology. Any Insteon product that plugs into an outlet employs both technologies, while (naturally) battery-powered devices offer RF only.

“They like that we offer soup to nuts,” says Insteon founder and CEO Joe Dada, who also is CEO of Smarthome.

During the Parks Associates Connections[5] conference this week, Dada offered CE Pro, SSI‘s sister publication, the first glimpse of the new Windows 8 app, featuring the tile interface that so many people love … or hate.

The tiles feature live status updates from various Insteon devices. Click on any tile to drill down for more information.

Insteon products are similar to DIY home automation systems, for example Lowe’s Iris[6], Staples Connect, Schlage Nexia, Vera (MiOS) and so many others. Users can create rules/scenes like “home” and “away,” view video cameras from afar and otherwise remotely monitor and control their homes.

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